Sprinkling in Details in Our Writing: How much to share—and when

Some of the best writing advice I’ve ever received didn’t come out of a creative writing workshop. No, I learned it at the copy desk of my college newspaper, where I spent each Saturday hunched over pages with a colored pen, making news article polished and shiny and ready for the world. (UPDATE: I’m not […]

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When writing is like wrestling an alligator: A midweek ROW80 check-in

Last week, revising my story felt like wrestling an alligator. There were a few moments where I just sat there trying not to pull my hair out. I had one chapter left to revise, near the end of the story, only something wasn’t right. It was one of those scenes where earlier pieces come together, […]

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Revising a manuscript: How do you know when a draft is finished?

How do you know when a draft of a story is done? For me, a first draft is finished when I’ve written it from beginning to end—it might be rough, but the story is on the page. But subsequent drafts are harder to judge. In my view, the second draft is finished when all the […]

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Setting the Tone for a Novel or Story

Last week, I hit a bit of a brick wall with my WIP. Right at the end, too. At first, I thought it was fear, but then I realized that I wasn’t sure about the tone of my story, and that was throwing me off. Is this a romping romantic adventure, or is it a […]

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When the story veers off course–and midweek ROW80 check-in

Sometimes, the words flow like raindrops in a summer downpour. And then, that downpour is immediately followed by a dry spell. I know the reason: I realized late last week as I sat down to write that I was headed in the wrong direction in my WIP. Part of me wanted to keep going, but […]

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Scene Revision: 4 common reasons why a scene doesn’t work

I spent the second half of last week revising chapter three in my WIP, a novella entitled “Good, Old-Fashioned Magic.” I needed to send that chapter off to my critique partners for our monthly meeting of the minds. The problem was that I wasn’t happy with that scene. The scene just didn’t work. I hate […]

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2nd chapter woes & an #ROW80 check-in

Is it just me, or are second chapters hard to write? Maybe it depends on the nature of the story, but I often find myself stumbling on chapter two, rewriting over and over and trying to figure out where to go next. Part of this problem tends to be that I don’t know exactly where […]

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5 Lessons All Writers Can Learn from Romantic Suspense Authors

When I was working on revising and tightening the plot of my first paranormal romance novel, MADE OF SHADOWS, I read a lot of romantic suspense. Though most of the books I read didn’t have paranormal elements (but some did), I learned plenty from reading tightly written books that packed heat and romantic tension in […]

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Out of the Story’s Nebula: Structure in the Second Draft

Every manuscript is its own creature. Some stories are upfront, divulging so much information your fingers can’t type fast enough. The first draft of Pierce My Heart, a meager 15K, was meant to be a concise introduction to the fae and their world. But my crit group pointed out that I could do one of […]

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A New Critique Service for Writers:

So I just received word that YA writer and my crit partner Kathleen Foucart has unveiled her new website and her critique service is now open for business. Kathleen and I met in graduate school and have been critiquing each other’s work ever since. She is a talented writer and an amazing person, someone who’s […]

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